Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Paying the Piper

Yesterday was Memorial Day. Back when I was in the US Army Band, in Washington, DC, we always played at some official ceremony, usually at the Tomb of the Unknowns. It was always a solumn occasion, made more so because we were deep into the Vietnam War and all the controversy.

This Memorial Day I wasn't a soldier, I was just a runner. But, passing by Montrose Harbor I heard the sound of Pipers. Sure enough, there was a ceremony going on and this time I was running through it. I'm not debating the rights or wrongs of any war, I can only say that for me - as a veteran - I am moved by the sacrifice that others have made on my behalf.

And I took that moment to be grateful that on a sunny Monday afternoon I could run along my favorite lakefront path without fear. Not everyone can say that.


ORN: Long run. 7 miles, 5/1. Used the Garmin to try to stay on pace. The heat was amazing, and I had to back off to about a 12:30 pace.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

A river runs through it

Some cities just have it figured out. Chicago does. New York does. Ottawa does.

This year I had a chance to get in some running in Ottawa. The river, the locks, the canal are all in the heart of the downtown. The parliment building, the supreme court, and many of the other "capitol" type buildings are right here too. It's beautiful.

On Thursday I had a bit of trouble finding my way down to the path. There are steps that lead from the parliment buildings down to the river, but you have to know where they are. I didn't. So after a couple of laps AROUND the buildings I finally made way to main entrance to the locks.

I had time, it was a beautiful day, and I wanted to see the path, so I opted to walk for 25 minutes then run a 4/2 pattern for 60 minutes. I went along the river side of the locks. Someone much smarter than me can figure out what direction that was.

On Friday, I didn't have as much time so I chose a 9/1 pattern and went the OTHER way, along the canal. Like other big city runs, you've got the runners and bikers, bladers and dog walkers all out there 'doing their thing'. It's a great way to meet the people.

If you ever find yourself in Ottawa, bring your shoes. You're going to want to run or walk the paths.


ORN: Thursday; off the training schedule; 25 minutes walking, 60 minutes at 4/2
ORN: Friday; on schedule; 40 minutes, 9/1 with 5 minute warm up.
ORN: Saturday; rest day [all day standing at the expo!]

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Great White North

Greetings from Ottawa, Canada. It's a beautiful day here and I'm looking forward to getting in a run later today.

Working backwards, Jenny, David, and I spent Monday and Tuesday in Randleman, North Carolina visiting the Victory Junction Gang Camp and meeting with folks in the Petty organization. I even got to meet Richard Petty himself! Very cool. And if you don't KNOW who Richard Petty is, you should find out. There's something GREAT that's going to happen but we can't say much yet.

Having "the Coach" along with us meant that we DID get up and run Tuesday morning even though we didn't have much time. I'm trying to stay on the training schedule.

I ended up running later in the day on Sunday - which was supposed to be a rest day - because I knew that there was NO way to run on Monday. So Monday was the rest day, Tuesday was a run day, and Wednesday will be a shorter run day. No, it's not EXACTLY what the schedule calls for, but it will have to do.


ORN: Sunday, 40 minutes, 9/1
ORN: Tuesday, 35 minutes, 9/1

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Running with Friends

Jenny's training program for the Chicago Distance Classic and Chicago marathon had their first training session yesterday. It's amazing to see over 300 folks gather to START a training schedule.

One of the charities is matching inner city high school students with running mentors. They goal is for them to traing together for either the CDC or marathon. We had about 25 students with their mentors yesterday for the first 4 mile run. I helped with the group and we did a 3/2 run/walk. IT WAS FANTASTIC.

How fun to see all these young people out on the path running side-by-side with their "training buddy". It will be a life changeing expierence for all of us if we can keep them motivated to see the training through.

It was a great reminder of why I REALLY do this.


ORN: 4 miles, 54 minutes, 3/2
OBN: Rode my city bike to and from the "Learn to Run" kickoff. About 7 miles total

Friday, May 19, 2006


I love to run. I used to like to train. Now I love to run, but I'm not all that kicked up about training. For me there's always been a big difference between running and training. You don't need a reason to run. All you do is run. It doesn't matter how fast or how far. You can run 7 days a week, or 3 days a week. It doesn't matter.

Training is - well - training. There's a REASON to run. EVERY time you run. There's a time or a distance, a pace or a purpose, EVERY time you put on your shoes. And that's the part I'm trying to get used to again.

I hate to keep bringing up Goofy, but that was the biggest physical accomplishment of my life. Not record times, but record preparation, record mental toughness, and a record "gut check". And I've got all three medals to prove it. But it wore me out.

So, I've GOT to get in a training program. The only way I'm going to get ready for a 5 hour marathon this fall is to train. Sounds simple. IS simple. I've just got get my head around it.


ORN: 40 minutes, 9/1. I wore my Garmin and actually tried to keep track of pace a little bit. If I'm going to get under 5 hours, I'm going to have to do some speed work.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Saddle Up

The weather here in Chicago has been the strangest that I can remember. It's rained every day for something like 40 days. I'm about to build an Ark.

Worse, it alternates between sunshine and rain [and hail last night] without warning. There's no telling what it's going to do next. Makes planning the day a bit tricky.

I got my run in yesterday during the sunny window. Today, I rode my bicycle in and out of three short downfalls. Strange. That's all there is to it.

But, I'm ON the training plan. Today was a cross-training day and I got it in. 3 days isn't a season, but it's a start.

Waddle on,


ORN: May 17: 45 minutes, 9/1 with 12 minutes of walking to warm up and cool.
OBN: May 18: 50 minutes, road bike. First ride of the season.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Keeping up

YIKES! And double YIKES.

You would think, being a writer, that blogging would be the easiest thing imaginable. After all, it's just writing. And I write all the time.

Well, you'd be wrong. But, I may have found the solution.

I decided on Saturday that I am going to train for the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon. More than that, I have accepted the challenge of trying to complete it in under 5 hours. I THINK that the last time I ran a marathon in under 5 hours was Disney 1999. So, I've got my work cut out for me.

So, I've got a training program, a goal, and a plan. This, I should be able to write about.


ORN: Started TODAY with a 40 minute run using 9/1 run/walk ratio.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Which way is up?

Oh good grief. I apologize to those of you who read this on a regular basis. I've been away, busy, and without access to the internet until yesterday.

I can't even begin to catch up, but, this past weekend Jenny and I were in Indianapolis for the 30th running of the 500 Festival Indy Mini [half marathon]. It's a fantastic race - 35,000 participants this year - and this year was special because they brought back former winners Bill Rodgers and Frank Shorter, among others.

The REALLY cool news is that Daniel [who some of you have met at our races] came in 2nd to the 2001 winner of the Chicago Marathon. NOT TOO BAD. He ran close to his PR - 1:03:30 or so. For those of you who DON'T know, John Bingham Racing sponsors Daniel. It's a small way to give back to the sport that's given me so much.

I did manage to get in some running, including what I'm now calling my "Better than Nothing" workout. Essentially the BTN workout is getting in SOMETHING rather than doing NOTHING.

I'm off to give a commencement address - if you can imagine - at Jackson Community College in Jackson, Michigan. I've been invited by a guy that I went to undergraduate school with - and haven't seen since 1968! Life is FUNNY.



May 4: 50 minutes
May 5: 40 minutes
May 7: 30 minutes, BTN
May 9: 50 minutes

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

A Dandy-Lion Run

This was one of those wonderful days. I'm home, so I got to run from MY apartment, down MY street, to MY path along MY lake. Sure, others may think it's THEIR path and THEIR lake, but I know better.

The deep green grass was covered with bright yellow dandelions, the sky was light blue, the water dark blue... it was a picture perfect setting. I chose to do a 4/2 sequence because I really wanted to stay out as long as I could.

Everything about this run was a reminder of why I run. I am feeling very grateful today.


ORN: 75 minutes, 4/2 at an easy pace along the north end of Belmont Harbor.

Monday, May 01, 2006

On the Road, again

For those of you who have been following along the past month or so, you've got a pretty good idea of what life is like this time of year. There's LOTS of travel, lots of hotel rooms, and LOTS of meeting and greeting people.

This past weekend was the Country Music Marathon and 1/2 Marathon in Nashville. I have a special interest in this event for a couple of reasons. One, I lived in the Nashville area for a number of years, so I know the running community there. And, Tim Murphy [from Elite Racing] and I talked about this race years ago. Just to show you how WRONG I can be, I told him that I didn't think the event would be successful. And I was right for the first few years, but they have it ALL going on now.

They added a 1/2 marathon in 2002 and that has made all the difference. There were 17,000 participants in the HALF and only about 5,000 in the full. That's pretty typical these days when there's a half and full option. To be honest, given the "rolling" nature of the Nashville course, the 1/2 is the BEST choice.

It's a great race. Elite does a wonderful job and the success of the race is evidence of that.

One of the big changes I've made in my running is the "get it in" even if I can't get MUCH in. I was able to run three times over the weekend and that's a first.

I'm home for 3 days [which seems like a lot] and then off to the Indy Mini this weekend.


ORN: Thursday, April 27; 50 minutes, 5/1 around Centennial Park in Nashville
ORN: Friday, April 28; 30 minutes, 4/1 PLUS 30 minutes just walking.
ORN: Sunday, April 30: 45 minutes, 4/2 PLUS 30 minutes, walking.